Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping, Government of India has e-launched the indigenous software solution for Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and Vessels Traffic Monitoring Systems (VTMS) in the capital. Following the development, Mandaviya emphasises that indigenous system is the requirement of the country instead because there is no need to rely on high costing foreign made software solutions for traffic managements of the Indian Ports. He said that aligning with the vision of ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ of Prime Minster Narendra Modi, ‘Made in India’ VTS and VTMS software will pave the way for ‘Make for the world’ vessel traffic management systems.
VTS and VTMS are software which determines vessel positions, position of other traffic or meteorological hazard warnings and extensive management of traffic within a port or waterway. Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) contribute to safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment, adjacent shore areas, work sites and offshore installations from possible adverse effects of maritime traffic. Vessels Traffic Management Systems are installed in some of the busiest waters in the world, and are making valuable contribution to safer navigation, more efficient traffic flow, and protection of the environment. Traffic flow in busy approach routes, access channels, and harbours can be coordinated safely, in the best interest of port and its users. Incidents and emergency situations can be dealt with quickly. Data from traffic movements can be stored and used as reference information for port administration, port authorities, coastguards and search and rescue services.
VTMS is mandatory under IMO Convention SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea). The VTMS traffic image is compiled and collected by means of advanced sensors such as radar, AIS, direction finding, CCTV and VHF or other co-operative systems and services. A modern VTMS integrates all of the information into a single operator working environment for ease of use and in order to allow for effective traffic organization and communication.
Presently, India has approximately 15 VTS systems operational along the Indian coast and there is no uniformity of VTS software as each system has its own VTS software. With the indigenous software development in progress the recent positive cooperation with office of Director General of Light and Lighthouses (DGLL) on joint development of the indigenous VTMS software development as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative will strengthen the cooperation in this area. At the same time, it will benefit the port sector, both in India and region. It is expected that a prototype system will be developed in Ten-month time for testing and to operate as a parallel system until it is robust for day to day operations.
Development of the indigenous VTS software will reduce the expenditure of foreign exchange on this issue and also minimize the dependence on foreign support for VTS software. Accordingly, indigenous development of VTS software will benefit with respect to:
i. Saving of foreign exchange for various VTSs in India.
ii. VTS Software can be provided to Indian trade friendly nations viz. Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bangladesh and Gulf countries.
iii. Will also minimise the cost for future upgradations of software.
iv. Shall be easier to interconnect with MIS/ERP softwares of ports.
v. Availability of Indian VTS software shall make Indian companies to be competitive commercially in global bids.
Implementation of National Maritime Domain Awareness programme of Indian Navy and NCVTS by DGLL – a real time, interactive aids to navigation system for coastal shipping shall become feasible with Indian VTS software at low cost. Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned an amount of Rs 10 Crore to IIT, Chennai for development of indigenous VTS software.